Rockhurst Town Hall provides information on university’s five-year plan

Image Credit:

Stockton Grunewald, Staff Writer

On Feb. 28 the Rockhurst Student Senate hosted a town hall–originally planned for the week before–but canceled due to inclement weather. The Rev. Thomas Curran, S.J., flanked by a number of distinguished faculty members, unveiled and gave a brief introduction to Rockhurst’s strategic plan for the next five years before opening the discussion up to a question and answer format.

“The mission is the vehicle that takes you to the destination,” he declared. “The destination is to create a more just world.” Students were then presented with a four-pillared plan to achieve these goals, which include raising $55 million for various projects.

The first tenet of RU’s new plan emphasizes educational innovation for the 21st century. Speakers noted that a review of the core curriculum was soon to be expected, highlighting their commitments to increasing an already high graduation rate and commitment to expanding online courses and interdisciplinary tracts alike.

Pillar II addressed efforts to make Rockhurst a more compatible partner with the community according to our mission and values, specifically in regards to environmental sustainability, inclusivity and outreach. Matt Heinrich, Director of Facilities, cited profound success in regards to the former, noting that the university’s electricity consumption is at about 12 percent less than last year’s totals. Also stressed was the need for increased communication between diverse groups and ‘increasing a direct relationship with the University’s mission and core values across the curriculum’.

Extending on that last point, Fr. Curran announced the opening of an Office of Diversity and Inclusion to foster cooperation and increase opportunities for diverse and underrepresented groups on campus and the community. Two million dollars of a $15 million pool will be directed to RU’s endowment will be dedicated to expanding the reach of this new office.

Finally, Rockhurst CFO Gerald Moench spoke about financial sustainability in the near future. Things of note for Rockhurst students include a commitment to improving technological infrastructure, student housing, including $2 million to refurbish the Town Houses, the creation of a new recreation center and a ‘re-imagine of existing properties’ such as Greenlease Library and Sedgwick Hall.

After this introduction, students in attendance were directed to one of four corners of the space, whereupon a specialized faculty member would answer any questions they had in regards to a certain pillar. This forum proved especially beneficial to those in attendance, clarifying some points.

Students seemed enthusiastic and turned out in good number for the event. If any readers have additional questions, I will note that the RU Student Senate meets every Wednesday night at 9 p.m. Overall, it seems as if Rockhurst University is well poised to go forth, set about and accomplish its ambitious goals.